WBEZ | police brutality http://www.wbez.org/tags/police-brutality Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Sandra Bland's Mother: Trooper's Perjury Charge 'Not Justice' http://www.wbez.org/news/sandra-blands-mother-troopers-perjury-charge-not-justice-114416 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/AP_733563362115.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The mother of a black woman found dead in a Texas jail cell after a traffic stop in July expressed outrage Thursday that the white state trooper who pulled her over was only charged with nothing more than perjury. And even on that misdemeanor, Sandra Bland&#39;s anguished mother said she had little confidence in the prospect of a conviction.</p><div><p>Geneva Reed-Veal told reporters in&nbsp;Chicago&nbsp;the trooper should have been charged with assault, battery and false arrest.</p><p>&quot;To charge this guy with a misdemeanor, are you kidding me?&quot; she said of the perjury charge, which carries a maximum of one year in jail and a $4,000 fine. &quot;I&#39;m angry, absolutely. ... That&#39;s not justice for me.&quot;</p><p>Bland, a 28-year-old former resident of Naperville, Illinois, was stopped in July for an improper lane change. The stop quickly escalated into a shouting match and a physical confrontation in which the trooper threatened to use a stun gun. Bland was arrested on suspicion of assaulting the trooper. Authorities say Bland hanged herself in her jail cell three days later.</p><p>Trooper Brian Encinia was indicted Wednesday by a grand jury in Texas on allegations that he lied when he claimed in an affidavit that Bland was &quot;combative and uncooperative&quot; after he pulled her over during the traffic stop and ordered her out of her car.</p><p>Hours after the indictment, the Texas Department of Public Safety said it would &quot;begin termination proceedings&quot; against Encinia, who has been on paid desk duty since Bland was found dead in her cell.</p><p>Reed-Veal said the trooper should not be out on the street &quot;to infect anyone else&#39;s life.&quot;</p><p>The family has filed a civil rights lawsuit that it hopes will shed more light on what happened to Bland and compel authorities to release documents, including a Texas Rangers investigation into the case. Authorities had withheld the Rangers report, citing the grand jury process that has now finished.</p><p>Reed-Veal said the separate criminal proceedings in the trooper&#39;s case would not bring &quot;true justice.&quot;</p><p>&quot;Who is going to prosecute this guy? Is it the same group of folks who selected the grand jury?&quot; she said, chuckling in apparent disbelief. &quot;... I don&#39;t trust the process.&quot;</p><p>Encinia was not immediately taken into custody, and an arraignment date has not yet been announced. Encinia could not be reached for comment; a cellphone number for him was no longer working.</p><p>Bland&#39;s arrest and death provoked national outrage and drew the attention of the Black Lives Matter movement. Protesters questioned officials&#39; assertion that Bland killed herself and linked her to other blacks killed in confrontations with police or who died in police custody, including Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Freddie Gray in Baltimore.</p><p>Encinia pulled Bland over on July 10 for making an improper lane change near Prairie View A&amp;M University, her alma mater, where she had just interviewed for and accepted a job.</p><p>Dashcam video from Encinia&#39;s patrol car shows Encinia drawing his stun gun and telling Bland, &quot;I will light you up!&quot; Bland eventually steps out of the vehicle, and Encinia orders her to the side of the road. She can later be heard off-camera screaming that he&#39;s about to break her wrists and complaining that he knocked her head into the ground.</p><p>Encinia wrote in his affidavit that he had Bland exit the vehicle and handcuffed her after she became combative, and that she swung her elbows at him and kicked him in his right shin. Encinia said he then used force &quot;to subdue Bland to the ground&quot; and she continued to fight back. He arrested her, alleging assault on a public servant.</p><p>Bland was taken to the Waller County jail in Hempstead, Texas, about 50 miles northwest of Houston. Three days later, she was found hanging from a jail cell partition with a plastic garbage bag around her neck. The grand jury has already declined to charge any sheriff&#39;s officials or jailers in her death.</p><p><em>Associated Press writers Michael Graczyk in Hempstead, Texas, and Nomaan Merchant in Dallas contributed to this report.</em></p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 07 Jan 2016 15:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/sandra-blands-mother-troopers-perjury-charge-not-justice-114416 Reparations Paid in Chicago Police Torture Case http://www.wbez.org/news/reparations-paid-chicago-police-torture-case-114390 <p><p>CHICAGO (AP) &mdash; The city of Chicago has paid $5.5 million in&nbsp;reparations&nbsp;to 57 people whose claims that they were tortured by police decades ago were found to be credible.</p><p>The money was paid Monday to victims of a police unit commanded by disgraced former police commander Jon Burge from the 1970s through the early 1990s, the <a href="http://bit.ly/1INETKY" target="_blank"><em>Chicago Sun-Times reported</em></a>.</p><p>More than 100 men, mostly African-American, have accused Burge and officers under his command of shocking, suffocating and beating them into giving false confessions, some of which landed them on death row. Burge has never been criminally charged with torture, but he served a 4 &frac12;-year sentence for lying about the torture in a civil case and was released from a halfway house last year.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP_342288757275.jpg" title="Stanley Wrice, center, convicted of rape and sentenced to 100 years in prison in 1982, speaks to the media with his lawyer Heidi Linn Lambros , left, and his daughter, Gail Lewis, as he leaves Pontiac Correctional Center Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013 in Pontiac, Ill. Wrice was released after serving more than 30 years in prison when a Cook County Judge overturned his conviction the day before and granted him a new trial. Wrice has claimed for decades he was beaten and coerced into confessing to the rape by Chicago police Area 2 detectives working for disgraced former Chicago police Lt. Jon Burge. Burge himself, is now in federal prison after being convicted of perjury related to torture allegations. Judge Richard Walsh's ruling comes after the officers working for Lt. Burge who Wrice says beat him, invoked their right not to testify. (AP Photos/M. Spencer Green)" /></p><p>The $5.5 million adds to more than $100 million that has been paid in court-ordered judgments, settlements of lawsuits and legal fees &mdash; most of it spent by the financially strapped city of Chicago and some by Cook County &mdash; over the years related to the torture scandal. The $100,000 payment most victims received Monday is a fraction of some previous settlements.</p><p>A months-long claims process for the payments included vetting by an arbitrator and by a professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology&#39;s Kent School of Law.</p><p>The&nbsp;reparations&nbsp;were part of an ordinance the City Council passed last year that also mandated a formal apology, the construction of a memorial to the victims and the addition of the police torture to the city&#39;s school history curriculum. It also provides psychological counseling and free tuition at some community colleges. Some of the benefits are available to victims&#39; children and grandchildren.</p><p>Paying&nbsp;reparations&nbsp;&quot;is a moral compunction and a moral reckoning to right a wrong,&quot; Mayor Rahm Emanuel told the newspaper. &quot;There is no statute of limitations on that.&quot;</p><p>The payments come as the Chicago Police Department is under withering criticism since the release in November of a video showing white police officer Jason Van Dyke shooting black 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times in 2014. The video prompted protests and led to a civil rights investigation of the entire department by the U.S. Department of Justice.</p><p>One torture victim, Darrell Cannon, said Monday that the payments were only the first step toward healing the city.</p><p>&quot;We still have a long way to go,&quot; he said.</p><p>Cannon was freed after 24 years in prison when a review board determined that evidence against him was tainted.</p></p> Tue, 05 Jan 2016 14:46:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/reparations-paid-chicago-police-torture-case-114390 Agency That Probes Police Shootings Reaches Out to Fired Investigator http://www.wbez.org/news/agency-probes-police-shootings-reaches-out-fired-investigator-114382 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP_376282653221.jpg" title="Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel hired Sharon Fairley last month to head the Independent Police Review Authority. Fairley says she wants to talk with Lorenzo Davis, who was terminated in July after refusing orders to change findings that officers were at fault in several cases. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)" /></div><p>The new chief of the agency that looks into shootings by Chicago police officers says she wants to hear out an investigator who was fired by her predecessor last July after refusing orders to change findings that the cops were at fault in several cases.</p><p>Sharon Fairley, acting chief administrator of the Independent Police Review Authority, last month reached out to the investigator, Lorenzo Davis, a former Chicago police commander.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;d like to hear about his side of what happened,&rdquo; Fairley said at a news conference Monday afternoon. &ldquo;I look forward to that conversation and I think that that will be happening soon.&rdquo;</p><p>Davis&rsquo;s lawyer, Torreya Hamilton, said an attorney with the city&rsquo;s Law Department called two weeks ago to set up the meeting. Hamilton said Davis, <a href="https://soundcloud.com/wbez/fired-chicago-investigator-hopes-justice-department-will-look-into-claims">who is suing the city for wrongful termination</a>, is eager to meet with Fairley. The sides have not yet set a time and place.</p><p>Fairley, a former federal prosecutor appointed a month ago by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, said she also wants to examine the work that got Davis fired.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve blocked out my entire afternoons for the month of January to do deep dives into these cases,&rdquo; Fairley said. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s part of my job &mdash; to go back and look historically at these cases &mdash; to understand what policies and procedures need to be put in place to prevent issues from happening in the future.&rdquo;</p><p>WBEZ revealed <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/city-fires-investigator-who-found-cops-fault-shootings-112423">Davis&rsquo;s termination and his resistance to orders by IPRA superiors</a> that he change findings about at least a dozen incidents, all shootings or alleged excessive-force cases.</p><p>Davis said Monday evening he would welcome Fairley&rsquo;s review of his findings. &ldquo;I&rsquo;d like to be present when she does it,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s better to review a report with the person who wrote it.&rdquo;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Lorenzo%20Davis%201%20crop.jpg" style="height: 262px; width: 310px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; float: right;" title="Davis, the fired investigator, says he would be glad to meet with Fairley and would welcome her review of his findings. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)" /></p><p>Davis, who joined IPRA in 2008 and was promoted to supervise a team of investigators, said he is also eager to provide Fairley his appraisal of the agency. &ldquo;There is a culture of viewing all cases in the light most favorable to the police officers,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Fairley said talking with Davis and reviewing his cases will be among &ldquo;steps to rebuild Chicagoans&rsquo; trust in IPRA and its findings.&rdquo;</p><p>Another step, Fairley said, is restructuring the agency&rsquo;s 90-member staff. The shakeup will involve new hires, including chief of staff Annette Moore, former associate director of admissions at the University of Chicago Law School, and chief investigator Jay Westensee, who is leaving a similar job with the city&rsquo;s Office of Inspector General.</p><p>Fairley&rsquo;s predecessor, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-police-review-board-leader-resigns-114064" target="_blank">Scott M. Ando, was forced out as IPRA&rsquo;s chief administrator</a> after heading the agency since 2013. Ando, a former U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent, filled several key IPRA posts with <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/who-polices-police-chicago-its-increasingly-ex-cops-111194" target="_blank">former sworn law-enforcement officers</a>, including two other former DEA agents, a WBEZ investigation found.</p><p>Fairley did not directly criticize Ando&rsquo;s hiring but said the agency needs &ldquo;stronger independence.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;I was a prosecutor for eight years, where my job was to collect evidence and then make the call,&rdquo; said Fairley, who worked at the U.S. Attorney&rsquo;s Office in Chicago. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s what I&rsquo;m planning on doing here.&rdquo;</p><p>Fairley also insisted she is independent from Emanuel despite a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-releases-thousands-emails-fatal-police-shooting-114334" target="_blank">pile of email messages</a> that<a href="https://www.google.com/url?q=http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2016-01-04/emails-show-chicago-mayor%25E2%2580%2599s-office-police-and-investigators&amp;sa=U&amp;ved=0ahUKEwjpjpaeqpPKAhVG7SYKHV0jAZ8QFggFMAA&amp;client=internal-uds-cse&amp;usg=AFQjCNFEnDPq3XM6hXIMIWLl7yfJeiyDTg" target="_blank"> show coordination</a> between his aides and IPRA in recent years.</p><p>&ldquo;Yes, I&rsquo;m in communication with the mayor&rsquo;s office,&rdquo; Fairley said. &ldquo;They&rsquo;ve been very helpful in helping me get situated here but they have not tried to direct my activities or tell me what to do. I don&rsquo;t have any pressure on me from the mayor to conduct an investigation any particular way.&rdquo;</p><p>Fairley said she is also overhauling IPRA&rsquo;s legal team and searching for a general counsel. Eric M. Muellenbach resigned from that post last week after more than six years at the agency.</p><p>She said IPRA has not received any budget increase for the staff changes but needs more resources and would be requesting a funding increase.</p><p>Fairley also promised more transparency. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m not going to jeopardize an investigation just because you&rsquo;re hungry for information but I will release it if it&rsquo;s appropriate,&rdquo; she told the reporters. &ldquo;The difference is we are no longer going to be standing by a hard-and-fast rule that we will never discuss the details of an investigation until it&rsquo;s complete. I think that that position is now untenable in the world that we&rsquo;re in.&rdquo;</p><p>To help make that point, Fairley turned to IPRA&rsquo;s latest shooting investigation. She described 911 recordings about a December 26 domestic disturbance that led to an officer&rsquo;s fatal shooting of Quintonio LeGrier and Bettie Ruth Jones on Chicago&rsquo;s West Side.</p><p>That investigation could face intense scrutiny. Relatives of LeGrier and Jones have filed wrongful-death lawsuits against the city.</p><p>Cook County State&rsquo;s Attorney Anita Alvarez last Thursday seemed to imply that IPRA could not handle the probe without federal help. &ldquo;This is a deeply disturbing incident that demands a very deliberate and meticulous independent investigation,&rdquo; Alvarez said in a written statement. &ldquo;At this stage, the investigation is being conducted by IPRA, but my office has also contacted the FBI to request their involvement as well.&rdquo;</p><p>IPRA has come under increasing fire since the city&rsquo;s November 24 release of a police dashboard-camera video showing a white officer shooting to death Laquan McDonald, 17, in 2014. A national outcry about that video led Emanuel to fire the city&rsquo;s police superintendent and replace Ando with Fairley. The U.S. Justice Department, meanwhile, began a civil-rights investigation of the police department, its use of deadly force, and measures to hold officers accountable.</p><p>Of more than 400 civilian shootings by police that IPRA has investigated over the last eight years, the agency has found the officers at fault in only two incidents, both off-duty, according to IPRA figures. The agency has never concluded that an on-duty shooting was unjustified.</p><p>Fairley has turned over IPRA&rsquo;s investigation of the McDonald case to the Inspector General&rsquo;s office and reopened a probe into the treatment of Philip Coleman, 38, who died after Chicago officers repeatedly used a Taser on him in a police lockup and dragged him out of his cell by handcuffs in 2012 &mdash; another incident caught on videotape. IPRA found that the officers&rsquo; actions were justified.</p><p>If Fairley pushes IPRA to be tougher on abusive officers, she could face resistance within the agency, which was part of the police department until 2007. Besides Ando&rsquo;s hires, some investigators have close ties to law enforcement, including family relationships with Chicago officers. And, since at least 2012, the only<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/city-sends-ipra-investigators-trainer-accused-pro-cop-bias-113077" target="_blank"> training IPRA has provided for investigating shootings</a> has been led by a controversial psychologist who often testifies in support of officers, WBEZ revealed.</p><p>Some critics say IPRA is beyond repair and should be replaced by an elected council.</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/cmitchell-0">Chip Mitchell</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s West Side bureau reporter. Follow him on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/ChipMitchell1">@ChipMitchell1</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>, and connect with him through <a href="https://www.facebook.com/chipmitchell1">Facebook</a>, <a href="https://plus.google.com/111079509307132701769" rel="me">Google+</a> and <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/ChipMitchell1">LinkedIn</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 05 Jan 2016 12:09:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/agency-probes-police-shootings-reaches-out-fired-investigator-114382 Amid Violence, Chicago Parents Try To Inoculate Their Sons Against Fear http://www.wbez.org/news/amid-violence-chicago-parents-try-inoculate-their-sons-against-fear-114136 <p><p>The protests in Chicago have been mostly peaceful. But it&#39;s not just about police. This is all happening against a backdrop of gang violence, including the recent killing of a 9-year-old boy who police say was apparently targeted because of his father&#39;s alleged gang ties.</p><p>These incidents are forcing difficult conversations between parents and kids. And for African-American families, the conversation hits close to home.</p><p>How do you talk about what&#39;s happening? How do you reassure your kids? And how do you keep them safe? We visited with two families at the beginning and end of a busy school day to find out.</p><p>Our first stop: the neighborhood of West Chatham on Chicago&#39;s South Side. That&#39;s where we met the Johnson family.</p><p>It&#39;s 6:45 a.m., and Shango Johnson is waking up his 9-year-old son, Brendan.</p><p>With his long dreadlocks, high cheekbones, and quick movements, Shango Johnson is catlike as he moves up and down the stairs.</p><p>He and his wife, Karen, start breakfast and their son, Brendan, comes down to the kitchen &mdash; unfazed by early-morning visitors. He&#39;s in third grade at the Montessori School of Englewood.</p><p>Brendan shows us his drawings on the refrigerator &mdash; Goldilocks and the three bears &mdash; then heads to the family room to turn on the TV.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/johnson-family-audie_custom-1a22e57dd65f779df054778911d8bca57f4b6a55-s800-c85.jpg" title="Shango and Karen Johnson at their home in Chicago. Their 9-year-old son, Brendan, is in the third grade. (Audie Cornish/NPR)" /></div><p>His mother makes sure he watches kid shows &mdash; not the news.</p><p>&quot;We generally will wake up, turn on the news, see the first beginning of the news and then turn it off. It gets so depressing. It&#39;s just been bombarded with everything that goes on in our city,&quot; Karen says.</p><p>But even that doesn&#39;t mean she can escape news of violence. Last month in Chicago, a 9-year-old named Tyshawn Lee was shot to death. The boy&#39;s body was found in an alley the next neighborhood over.</p><p>&quot;Brendan was in the car with me and he heard the story and he was asking, &#39;Why would that happen? Who would do that to a child?&#39; And we just tried to explain to him that there are crazy people in the world. That to me, people have no regard for life anymore,&quot; Karen says.</p><p>Over the next few weeks, news reports implicated gang members. Police alleged the victim&#39;s father had gang ties.</p><p>Shango worries his son will start to think that somehow Tyshawn Lee wasn&#39;t so much a victim as a casualty of the violence people have come to expect from certain neighborhoods.</p><p>&quot;We got so much on TV about violence and stuff, you know, my son may go to look at it that he died because of this, he died because of that. Nah, he&#39;s 9 years old. He shouldn&#39;t have died, period,&quot; Shango says.</p><p>When Brendan asked to go to the prayer vigil for Tyshawn, his mother said no.</p><p>But as she drove through the neighborhood, Karen says, she found herself taking her son on an inadvertent tour of the dead boy&#39;s life.</p><p>There was Tyshawn&#39;s elementary school. There&#39;s the street corner near the alley where he was killed. A few blocks down, the church that held his funeral.</p><p>Is a mother ever ready to have this conversation with her child, explaining a senseless death?</p><p>&quot;Yeah, I don&#39;t want to say its the norm but it kind of is. We used to live in Englewood. We recently moved this past summer so with the violence being so bad how it is in Englewood we would be just driving, and my son would see yellow tape and it could be the construction tape [but] he would automatically think, &#39;Oh my God, someone has been killed.&#39; So it&#39;s like he&#39;s almost used to the violence going on in our community,&quot; Karen says.</p><p>How does she explain the kind of imagery you see in videos of police violence, like with Laquan McDonald? Or does she try to keep it from her young son?</p><p>&quot;I would tell him, &#39;I&#39;d prefer for you not to watch it,&#39; because I don&#39;t want it to be embedded in his mind. I don&#39;t want to replay that scene over and over again,&quot; Karen says.</p><p>Our conversation ends there because it&#39;s time to go to school.</p><p>Later that day, after school, we visit the Beasons.</p><p>They live just 7 miles away from the Johnsons in West Pullman, but it might as well be a different Chicago. The street is whisper quiet, with holiday decorations twinkling in front of their home.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/beasons-connor_custom-2b04caf74c4bfe56f3847f81207395b75f66cb24-s800-c85.jpg" title="Jacinda and Dave Beason. Family dinners are where whatever their three sons are thinking — about gang violence in the news, about police shooting videos — gets hashed out. (Connor Donevan/NPR)" /></div><p>The house is warm and smells like chopped peppers &mdash; Jacinda Beason is preparing chicken chili for her husband, Dave, and their three sons.</p><p>Malcolm is 17, with the broad shoulders of a football player. He plays for Lindblom, a selective public math and science academy. His 15-year-old brother, Matthew, attends as well.</p><p>Matthew&#39;s black sweatshirt says &quot;CAUTION: Educated Black Man&quot; and at 6 feet, 2 inches he&#39;s the tallest of the brothers, polite and soft-spoken.&nbsp;<br /><br />The youngest is Marcus. He&#39;s 12 going on 13 &mdash; we&#39;re crashing his birthday dinner, so tonight, he&#39;s the center of attention.</p><p>Jacinda and Dave say these dinners are where whatever the kids are thinking &mdash; about gang violence in the news, about police shooting videos &mdash; gets hashed out.</p><p>&quot;Our conversations have been, what do you do when you&#39;re not a gang banger? You&#39;re going to school and doing everything that you&#39;re supposed to do. And yet, I still have to prepare my sons &mdash; Malcolm, remember when you drive over to Lindblom, remember that that&#39;s three black men in a minivan. I don&#39;t like having that conversation. But if I don&#39;t prepare him to possibly get pulled over, and what you&#39;re supposed to do and what you&#39;re not supposed to do, and just reiterate that, I would worry,&quot; Jacinda says.</p><p>She says the conversations they have the most are about what kind of man their boys will grow up to be &mdash; and they&#39;ve taught them four principles to help on that journey.</p><p>Marcus knows them all.</p><p>&quot;Men of God, men who can think for themselves, a leader not a follower, know right from wrong,&quot; he says.</p><p>This is how Dave fortifies his sons. They don&#39;t want them to feel helpless. For example, they&#39;ve discussed plans to march in the protests downtown over police-involved shootings in Chicago.</p><p>Jacinda says that&#39;s because they want their sons to look for solutions.</p><p>But her husband knows not everyone in Chicago sees the protests the same way. He has experienced that firsthand &mdash; with a colleague at work.<br /><br />&quot;He was upset about the protests that was happening. And he said the officer had the right to shoot him. &#39;Mr. McDonald,&#39; I said to him, &#39;You don&#39;t have to worry about an officer killing your son when he goes out of the house. That is a concern, a real concern, in my family.&#39; I don&#39;t know if he understood that,&quot; Dave says.</p><p>Even as they acknowledged the city&#39;s problems, Jacinda lists the things they love about Chicago: the museums, their church, their schools. They believe they&#39;ve built a safe haven for their kids that can withstand the negative headlines.</p><p>Dave says it sounds corny, but that he&#39;s happy his sons still play Monopoly, have snowball fights and celebrate birthdays with quiet dinners at home.</p><p>And faced with the unpredictable &mdash; whether a random shooting, or a dangerous encounter with the police &mdash; the Beasons carry on.</p><p>&quot;You can&#39;t go around being afraid. You can&#39;t. That&#39;s no life. So we pray before we leave, walk out these doors, ask God to help us be an example for his people, ask for protection, and then we live our lives,&quot; Dave says.</p><p><em>&mdash; via<a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/12/10/459198009/amid-violence-chicago-parents-try-to-inoculate-their-sons-against-fear?ft=nprml&amp;f=459198009"> NPR News</a></em></p></p> Fri, 11 Dec 2015 10:56:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/amid-violence-chicago-parents-try-inoculate-their-sons-against-fear-114136 Verdict Expected Monday in Cmdr. Evans Trial http://www.wbez.org/news/verdict-expected-monday-cmdr-evans-trial-114135 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Evans 1tightcrop_3.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Cook County prosecutors have a theory about the DNA evidence in their police-brutality case against Chicago Cmdr. Glenn Evans.</p><p>They unveiled that theory Thursday during closing arguments in the commander&rsquo;s trial. WBEZ&rsquo;s Chip Mitchell discusses that, other developments during closing arguments, and what&#39;s next in the trial.</p></p> Fri, 11 Dec 2015 09:36:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/verdict-expected-monday-cmdr-evans-trial-114135 15-Day Suspension Recommended for Commander Facing Felony Charges http://www.wbez.org/news/15-day-suspension-recommended-commander-facing-felony-charges-114044 <p><p dir="ltr"><em>Updated December 4, 2015</em></p><p dir="ltr">Months after Cook County prosecutors charged Chicago police Cmdr. Glenn Evans with putting the barrel of his gun into a suspect&rsquo;s mouth, the city agency that investigates police-brutality complaints recommended a 15-day suspension for the embattled cop in a separate incident.</p><p dir="ltr">The trial in Evans&rsquo; criminal case is scheduled to begin next Tuesday. WBEZ confirmed details of the disciplinary case this week.</p><p dir="ltr">The Independent Police Review Authority first recommended the suspension last winter. IPRA &ldquo;sustained&rdquo; allegations that Evans threatened Rita King, 42, pressed his hand against her nose and face, and failed to provide her medical treatment.</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: 14px; line-height: 22px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/glenn-evans" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; text-decoration: none; color: rgb(0, 104, 150); outline: 0px;">Read all our coverage about Cmdr. Glenn Evans</a></strong></p><p dir="ltr">The incident took place on April 10, 2011, at the Gresham police station. Officers had arrested King after a domestic disturbance and were trying to fingerprint her. She was not cooperating.</p><p dir="ltr">Evans, on duty as a lieutenant, &ldquo;proceeded to violently press his fist into [her] nose for approximately 3 to 5 minutes,&rdquo; according to a federal lawsuit King brought against the city and the officers.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;He kept saying, &lsquo;I&rsquo;m going to push your nose through your brain,&rsquo;&rdquo; King told WBEZ last year during an interview about the incident.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Rita%20King%20mug%20facing%20camera%20CROP_0.jpg" style="height: 246px; width: 300px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; float: right;" title="Minutes before this booking photo, Rita King says, Evans broke bones in her face and threatened to ‘push my nose through my brain.’ (Chicago Police Department)" /></p><p dir="ltr">Evans claimed he first tried talking to King. &ldquo;Only after [she] refused to comply with these verbal commands did Defendant Evans use a reasonable degree of force in order to control [her],&rdquo; city attorneys wrote in a court filing.</p><p dir="ltr">Officers charged King with assault and disorderly conduct, both misdemeanors, and released her.</p><p dir="ltr">Two days after the incident, a Roseland Community Hospital physician examined King and found multiple facial bone fractures, according to a hospital record.</p><p dir="ltr">King, meanwhile, filed a complaint with IPRA. The agency looked into the case for two months then did little or no work on it for almost two years, according to an internal log of the investigation.</p><p dir="ltr">Once IPRA resumed its probe, it didn&rsquo;t post its findings for nearly another two years. IPRA published a summary and the suspension recommendation in a monthly report last February but did not identify the officers.</p><p dir="ltr">By then, a Cook County grand jury had indicted Evans in the gun case and the police department had moved him to desk duty.</p><p dir="ltr">But the department did not carry out the suspension. Instead, last spring, it sent the case back to IPRA for more investigation. IPRA completed that work this fall and returned its 15-day suspension recommendation to the police department, according to sources close to the probe.</p><p dir="ltr">The police department did not answer questions about the recommendation or Evans&rsquo; status. IPRA spokesman Larry Merritt called the case &ldquo;pending&rdquo; but did not answer questions about it.</p><p dir="ltr">Suspensions of fewer than 31 days for an officer of Evans&rsquo; rank cannot be appealed to the city&rsquo;s Police Board, according to Max Caproni, the board&rsquo;s chief administrative officer.</p><div>In King&rsquo;s lawsuit &mdash; a hard-fought battle spanning almost three years &mdash; Evans sat for a deposition last March but refused to answer dozens of questions and pointed to his constitutional right against self-incrimination, according to court records.</div><p dir="ltr">U.S. Judge Jeffrey T. Gilbert mediated settlement talks on Monday and scheduled a hearing for next Wednesday.</p><p dir="ltr">Evans&rsquo; attorney in the lawsuit, Eric S. Palles, did not return WBEZ messages seeking comment about King&rsquo;s allegations. Laura Morask, Evans&rsquo; lawyer in the criminal case, denied the allegations and declined to comment further.</p><p dir="ltr">To settle a different lawsuit, the city last month<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/city-pay-100000-photojournalist-who-alleged-police-brutality-113979"> agreed to pay $100,000 to a photojournalist</a> who claims Evans and other officers beat him with batons and kicked him as he covered a downtown protest during the 2012 NATO summit.</p><p dir="ltr">That was the seventh time the city paid at least five figures to settle a lawsuit against Evans for alleged excessive force, according to a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/ousted-commander-leaves-trail-costly-lawsuits-110786">WBEZ review of court filings and city Law Department records</a>. The payouts total $324,999, not counting legal expenses.</p><p dir="ltr">In all the settlements, the defendants denied wrongdoing and liability.</p><p dir="ltr">In the criminal case, Evans faces two counts of aggravated battery and seven counts of official misconduct, all felonies. The incident, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/cpd-leaves-commander-post-despite-assault-allegation-dna-match-110581">revealed by WBEZ</a>, took place January 30, 2013.</p><p dir="ltr">Prosecutors said Evans put his .45-caliber Smith &amp; Wesson semi-automatic pistol &ldquo;deep down&rdquo; the throat of a South Side man, Rickey J. Williams, while pressing a taser to his groin and threatening to kill him.</p><p dir="ltr">Morask, Evans&rsquo; attorney, has denied those allegations and accused IPRA of leaking the results of an Illinois State Police test to WBEZ. The test found that material swabbed from the commander&rsquo;s gun included DNA that matched a sample from Williams.</p><p dir="ltr">Morask has argued that WBEZ&rsquo;s acquisition of the test results proves that the investigation was &ldquo;incredibly flawed&rdquo; and that the case&rsquo;s leaks are relevant to Evans&rsquo; defense.*</p><p dir="ltr">The commander&rsquo;s supporters, meanwhile, say Williams&rsquo; DNA could have ended up on the gun without unlawful conduct by Evans.</p><p dir="ltr">The trial will take place amid heightened public scrutiny of Chicago police conduct. Last week, the city released a police dashcam video showing an officer firing 16 rounds into Laquan McDonald, 17. A public outcry led Mayor Rahm Emanuel this week to dismiss police Supt. Garry McCarthy.</p><p dir="ltr">Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan on Monday asked the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the police department&rsquo;s use of force. Her letter mentioned Evans among officers she accused of &ldquo;troubling actions.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">In the Williams case, Emanuel backed McCarthy&rsquo;s decision to leave Evans in charge of a West Side district despite an April 2014 recommendation by IPRA to strip the commander of police powers.</p><p dir="ltr">Questioned about that decision, McCarthy credited Evans for a drop in shootings in a South Side district he had commanded. Evans remained in the West Side post until prosecutors brought the charges on August 28, 2014.</p><p dir="ltr">Evans&rsquo; conduct is the subject of yet another legal battle &mdash; a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/lawsuit-police-commanders-alleged-battery-amounted-torture-110776">federal lawsuit brought by Williams</a> against the commander and the city. A judge has put that case&rsquo;s evidence discovery on hold pending the criminal trial.</p><p dir="ltr">Since joining the police department in 1986, Evans has been the subject of 123 misconduct complaints, according to internal police records obtained by WBEZ. About half of those complaints alleged excessive force, but city investigations of nearly all of those incidents ended with findings of &ldquo;not sustained&rdquo; or &ldquo;unfounded.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Evans, meanwhile, has been <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/indicted-police-commander-suspended-duty-11-times-records-show-110810">suspended from duty at least 11 times</a>. The two longest suspensions, both 15 days, stemmed from excessive-force accusations.</p><p dir="ltr">Morask called the history of lawsuits and complaints against Evans irrelevant to the criminal charges. Judge Diane Cannon ruled that prosecutors could not bring &ldquo;other crimes and bad acts&rdquo; into the trial, expected to last at least two days.</p><p dir="ltr"><em>* In the interest of full disclosure, attorneys for Commander Evans have sought to have WBEZ&rsquo;s Chip Mitchell testify in Evans&rsquo; criminal trial. We do not believe that that has any bearing on the reporting of this story.</em></p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/cmitchell-0">Chip Mitchell</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s West Side bureau reporter. Follow him on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/ChipMitchell1">@ChipMitchell1</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>, and connect with him through <a href="https://www.facebook.com/chipmitchell1">Facebook</a>, <a href="https://plus.google.com/111079509307132701769" rel="me">Google+</a> and <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/ChipMitchell1">LinkedIn</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 03 Dec 2015 15:48:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/15-day-suspension-recommended-commander-facing-felony-charges-114044 Baltimore Residents Wary As Freddie Gray Trials Slated To Begin http://www.wbez.org/news/baltimore-residents-wary-freddie-gray-trials-slated-begin-113989 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/west-baltimore-jtsuboike-0520-edit_custom-93a132c59f88d95638274897d4efd9e93cb0e541-s600-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res457429505" previewtitle="A mural for Freddie Gray is seen at the intersection of North Mount and Presbury streets where he was arrested in April."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="A mural for Freddie Gray is seen at the intersection of North Mount and Presbury streets where he was arrested in April." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/25/west-baltimore-jtsuboike-0520-edit_custom-93a132c59f88d95638274897d4efd9e93cb0e541-s600-c85.jpg" style="height: 412px; width: 620px;" title="A mural for Freddie Gray is seen at the intersection of North Mount and Presbury streets where he was arrested in April. (Jun Tsuboike/NPR)" /></div><div><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong><a href="http://Hung Jury in 1st Officer’s Trial in Freddie Gray Case" target="_blank">12-16-15 UPDATE: Hung Jury in 1st Officer&rsquo;s Trial in Freddie Gray Case</a></strong></p><p>It&#39;s been seven months since protests over the death of an unarmed black man after his arrest erupted into looting and arson, leading Baltimore&#39;s mayor to declare a curfew and call in the National Guard. Now, that unrest remains a potent backdrop as the trial begins for the first of six police officers charged in Freddie Gray&#39;s death.</p></div></div><p>&quot;I just want peace while the trial is going on,&quot; says Missa Grant, standing at a bus stop across a busy intersection from the former CVS that became a televised symbol of the violence. The store was looted, set fire to, and eventually torn down. The walls of a new red brick structure are now halfway up.</p><div id="res457429084" previewtitle="A building is now under construction at the intersection of Pennsylvania and West North avenues where a CVS Pharmacy was destroyed in the riots."><div><div><p>Grant says if the evidence shows the officers are not guilty, so be it. But with such a long and growing list of unarmed black men killed by police all over the country, she doesn&#39;t think everyone will see it that way</p></div></div></div><p>&quot;I believe there&#39;s going to be another riot, I really do,&quot; she says. &quot;It&#39;s not what I&#39;m looking for. But I really believe that they&#39;re going to react out if somebody doesn&#39;t have to stand up for what happened to Freddie Gray.&quot;</p><p>The officers face six separate, consecutive trials, on charges ranging from second-degree depraved heart murder to misconduct in office.</p><p><img alt="A building is now under construction at the intersection of Pennsylvania and West North avenues where a CVS Pharmacy was destroyed in the riots." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/25/west-baltimore-jtsuboike-0143-edit_custom-03e6f3ec9119564a797d54a5818b50a1396dc72b-s300-c85.jpg" style="height: 206px; width: 310px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; float: left;" title="A building is now under construction at the intersection of Pennsylvania and West North avenues where a CVS Pharmacy was destroyed in the riots. (Jun Tsuboike/NPR)" /></p><p>Officer William Porter is the first up, charged with manslaughter, assault, and reckless endangerment. He was called in as backup after Gray&#39;s arrest, and was present at several stops of the police paddy wagon in which the 25-year-old man was transported, handcuffed and in leg irons.</p><p>According to charging documents, Porter was present when Gray said he couldn&#39;t breathe.&nbsp;The <em>Baltimore Sun</em>&nbsp;has reported that Porter told police investigators he informed the van&#39;s driver that Gray was in medical distress, though also wondered if he was faking it. Prosecutors say they are trying Porter first because he is a &quot;material witness&quot; against at least two other officers.</p><p>&quot;Porter is going to be the key to everything,&quot; says A. Dwight Pettit, a Baltimore defense attorney not involved in the case. &quot;What he negotiates or doesn&#39;t negotiate, whether he&#39;s acquitted or whether he&#39;s convicted, he is going to be the determiner of how the other five proceed.&quot;</p><p>Pettit is the first to allege systemic racism among Baltimore police. He&#39;s won a long string of civil cases over excessive force. The city&#39;s paid out millions to settle such claims in recent years. Yet Pettit says the this case is no &quot;slam dunk,&quot; despite that video of Gray&#39;s arrest that played over and over on cable TV.</p><p>&quot;That video is very inconclusive in many areas,&quot; he says, as is the &quot;cause of death. It&#39;s going to be a major war between pathologists as to how he died. Ample opportunity to paint reasonable doubt.&quot;</p><div id="res457428970" previewtitle="TOP: Baltimore defense attorney A. Dwight Pettit has won a string of civil cases over excessive force. LEFT: Tanya Preacher says she's hoping for convictions. RIGHT: Missa Grant thinks another riot may happen if the evidence shows the officers are not guilty."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="TOP: Baltimore defense attorney A. Dwight Pettit has won a string of civil cases over excessive force. LEFT: Tanya Preacher says she's hoping for convictions. RIGHT: Missa Grant thinks another riot may happen if the evidence shows the officers are not guilty." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/25/wbaltimore-composite_custom-e1d30e3424238dd8fb6b47b3a6400a030c5fd1c6-s600-c85.jpg" style="height: 624px; width: 620px;" title="TOP: Baltimore defense attorney A. Dwight Pettit has won a string of civil cases over excessive force. LEFT: Tanya Preacher says she's hoping for convictions. RIGHT: Missa Grant thinks another riot may happen if the evidence shows the officers are not guilty. (Jun Tsuboike/NPR)" /></div><div><div><p>Outside Mondawmin Mall, where high school students started the spasm of looting the day of Gray&#39;s funeral, Tanya Peacher says she&#39;s hoping for convictions.</p></div></div></div><p>&quot;It&#39;s just going to be lack of respect even more for the police now, if they don&#39;t be found guilty,&quot; she says.</p><p>Like many here, Peacher says she, her children and neighbors have had bad run-ins with police. However the Freddie Gray trials turn out, she doesn&#39;t see that changing.</p><p>&quot;Because one stupid cop is going to do something stupid again, then it&#39;s going to be on camera again,&quot; she says. &quot;It&#39;s not the end, it&#39;s just going to be bad.&quot;</p><p>Adding to tensions, Peacher thinks Baltimore police have pulled back since last spring&#39;s unrest, fueling a homicide rate that&#39;s hit record levels.</p><div id="res457427091" previewtitle="A memorial is seen on West Baltimore street at the site of the city's 300th homicide this year, Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2015 in Baltimore, MD."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="A memorial is seen on West Baltimore street at the site of the city's 300th homicide this year, Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2015 in Baltimore, MD." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/25/west-baltimore-jtsuboike-0361-edit-dae441c22dc9dd4e956ae901aa70430516bcb943-s600-c85.jpg" style="height: 233px; width: 310px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; float: right;" title="A memorial is seen on West Baltimore street at the site of the city's 300th homicide this year, Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2015 in Baltimore, MD. (Jun Tsuboike/NPR)" /></div><div><div><p>At a makeshift memorial on a residential West Baltimore street, purple, gold and red balloons tied to a pedestrian crossing sign mark the city&#39;s 300th homicide this year, a number not seen since the &#39;90s. Neighbor Ray Bond blames drug dealers, and he&#39;s frustrated this kind of killing doesn&#39;t galvanize people the way Freddie Gray&#39;s death has.</p></div></div></div><p>&quot;You&#39;re killing each other every day, people that you grew up with,&quot; he says. &quot;You shooting them every day. But when an officer does something? All hell break out.&quot;</p><p>A short drive away,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.noboundariescoalition.com/">the No Boundaries Coalition</a>&nbsp;has seen one good thing come out of all the bad: more money for its grassroots community development work.</p><p>&quot;I think we can&#39;t get lost in the trials,&quot; says organizer Ray Kelly. &quot;I think we have to remember to focus on the systemic oppression, so to speak, that led up to Freddie Gray being able to just be killed in a paddy wagon. I mean, that wasn&#39;t unique.&quot;</p><p>Kelly&#39;s group wants more teeth for the civilian review board that oversees the police department. It also wants to double voter turnout in the zip code where Freddie Gray lived. It&#39;s been stunningly low, in the single digits for two of the past three elections.</p><div id="res457426723" previewtitle="Pedestrians walk on West North Avenue in Baltimore. On Monday, the trial begins for the first of six police officers charged in Freddie Gray's death."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Pedestrians walk on West North Avenue in Baltimore. On Monday, the trial begins for the first of six police officers charged in Freddie Gray's death." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/25/west-baltimore-jtsuboike-0227-edit-e8fa23366b6615b5aa0b444033c268bf1e977cb1-s600-c85.jpg" style="height: 233px; width: 310px; float: right; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" title="Pedestrians walk on West North Avenue in Baltimore. On Monday, the trial begins for the first of six police officers charged in Freddie Gray's death. (Jun Tsuboike/NPR)" /></div><div><div><p>Last week Kelly organized a &quot;know your rights&quot; meeting with officials from the Justice Department, which is investigating whether there&#39;s a pattern or practice of discriminatory policing in Baltimore. The forum was a chance to air all kinds of grievances, from police abuse to poor schools to lead poisoning. Yet despite Kelly&#39;s efforts to publicize the meeting, hardly any local residents turned out.</p></div></div></div><p>&quot;I&#39;m very disappointed,&quot; he said, as he surveyed a church hall full of mostly empty round tables.</p><p>Kelly wants residents to get more involved, and to feel safe, no matter the outcome of the trials.</p><p>While Freddie Gray&#39;s death and the charges against police may have brought new attention to Baltimore&#39;s problems, an uphill struggle remains over how to fix them.</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/11/29/457404032/baltimore-residents-wary-as-freddie-gray-trials-slated-to-begin?ft=nprml&amp;f=457404032" target="_blank"><em> via NPR</em></a></p></p> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 12:24:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/baltimore-residents-wary-freddie-gray-trials-slated-begin-113989 Chicago Police Officer Who Fatally Shot Teen Due In Court http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-police-officer-who-fatally-shot-teen-due-court-113982 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/vandyke jason mugshot.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>CHICAGO&nbsp;(AP) &mdash; A white&nbsp;Chicago&nbsp;police officer charged with murder after a squad car video caught him fatally shooting a black teenager 16 times is expected in court Monday to learn if a judge will offer him bond and allow his release from jail.</p><p>Officer Jason Van Dyke has been locked up since Nov. 24, when prosecutors charged him with first-degree murder in the shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. A judge ordered he be held without bail but scheduled a bond hearing for Monday afternoon.</p><p>On the same day, authorities released the dashcam video that shows McDonald &mdash; armed with a small knife and walking down a street on the city&#39;s southwest side &mdash; being shot repeatedly by the 37-year-old Van Dyke.</p><p>A judge had ordered the video released the previous week. On Tuesday, Cook County State&#39;s Attorney Anita Alvarez said she had decided a few weeks earlier to charge Van Dyke with murder and was planning to announce charges in a month. But knowing the intense public anger that the sight of the &quot;chilling&quot; video would generate, she announced the charges before the video&#39;s release in an effort to encourage calm.</p><p>Van Dyke&#39;s attorney will almost certainly ask the judge to set a bond that Van Dyke can post. Last week, he reassured the judge that Van Dyke is not a flight risk, explaining that he has deep ties to the community, lives with his wife and two children in&nbsp;Chicago&nbsp;and does not possess a passport.</p><p>In the audio-free video, McDonald can be seen walking down the middle of a four-lane street. He appears to veer away from two officers as they emerge from a vehicle, drawing their guns. One of the officers, Van Dyke, opens fire from close range. McDonald spins around and crumples to the ground. The officer continues to fire.</p><p>Van Dyke&#39;s attorney, Dan Herbert, maintains that his client feared for his life, acted lawfully and that the video does not tell the whole story. Police have said that McDonald was carrying a knife and an autopsy revealed that he had PCP, a hallucinogenic drug, in his system. Alvarez said last week that the 3-inch blade recovered from the scene had been folded into the handle.</p><p>Protesters have marched on&nbsp;Chicago&#39;s&nbsp;streets since the video&#39;s release. The largest and most disruptive protest blocked off part of Michigan Avenue in the downtown shopping district known as the Magnificent Mile on Black Friday, preventing access to big name stores on what is traditionally the busiest shopping day of the year.</p><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 11:40:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-police-officer-who-fatally-shot-teen-due-court-113982 City to Pay $100,000 to Photojournalist Who Alleged Police Brutality http://www.wbez.org/news/city-pay-100000-photojournalist-who-alleged-police-brutality-113979 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Joshua Lott.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago will pay $100,000 to a photojournalist who says prominent police officers beat him and destroyed one of his cameras during the 2012 NATO summit, according to a settlement reached this month.</p><p>Freelance photographer Joshua Lott&rsquo;s federal lawsuit named six officers as defendants, including Glenn Evans, promoted by Supt. Garry McCarthy to command the Grand Crossing police district three months after the summit. Evans now awaits trial on felony charges in a separate case of alleged excessive force.</p><p>The defendants also include Matthew E. Tobias, a deputy chief who retired a few weeks after the summit, and Christopher Taliaferro, promoted to sergeant five months after the summit and elected by West Side voters to an aldermanic seat this year.</p><p>The incident took place May 20, 2012, as Lott was covering a downtown NATO protest for Getty Images. He said he was carrying two cameras and his press credentials when he saw two officers mistreating a young man.</p><p>&ldquo;They had him down on the ground and they were beating him with batons,&rdquo; Lott said. &ldquo;The officers that were beating him just weren&rsquo;t happy that I was taking pictures and told me I needed to leave. I indicated that I was a working journalist and who I was working for.&rdquo;</p><p>The officers returned to beating the young man, Lott said. The journalist kept taking photos.</p><p>&ldquo;They came over and approached me a second time,&rdquo; Lott said. &ldquo;They took me off to the side of the road and threw me to ground, and I had numerous officers beating me the same way they were beating the kid that I was photographing &mdash; with the batons &mdash; and stomping on me.&rdquo;</p><p>Lott said Evans, a lieutenant at the time, &ldquo;hit me a bunch of times&rdquo; using a baton. Tobias slammed the camera to the ground &ldquo;like a football spike,&rdquo; Lott said.</p><p>Taliaferro, who unseated Ald. Deborah Graham (29th Ward) this past April, was not present during the alleged beating but helped bring a misdemeanor reckless-conduct charge against Lott. The lawsuit accused Taliaferro of &ldquo;knowing there was no probable cause&rdquo; to support the charge.</p><p>In a text message to WBEZ, Taliaferro claimed he had &ldquo;nothing to do with the facts or circumstances&rdquo; of the incident and merely worked as a &ldquo;booking officer during a mass-arrest procedure and should not have been included as a defendant in this case.&rdquo;</p><p>A Cook County judge dismissed the charge against Lott six weeks after the arrest. The photographer&rsquo;s attorneys said the officers had failed to appear in court.</p><p>Separately, Evans is scheduled for trial next week in the felony case. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/commander-pleads-not-guilty-police-brutality-charges-110843">Prosecutors have accused him</a> of putting the barrel of his gun into a suspect&rsquo;s mouth and a Taser to his groin while threatening his life during a 2013 incident.</p><p>In Lott&rsquo;s lawsuit, Evans sat for a deposition last July but refused to answer hundreds of questions. The commander cited his Fifth Amendment rights.</p><p>The Lott case is among at least seven instances in which Evans has allegedly&nbsp;used excessive force leading to lawsuits and city payments to the plaintiffs, according to a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/ousted-commander-leaves-trail-costly-lawsuits-110786">WBEZ review of court filings and city Law Department records</a>. The payouts total $324,999, not counting tens of thousands of dollars in legal expenses.</p><p>All the settlements specify that the city and Evans deny wrongdoing and liability.</p><p>Law Department officials did not answer WBEZ questions about Lott&rsquo;s case but the city denied his allegations in court filings. Neither Evans&rsquo; attorney nor Tobias returned calls.</p><p>The other defendants in Lott&rsquo;s lawsuit included Sgt. Ricky O&rsquo;Neal and officers Marek Grobla and Gary Hughes, who could not be reached for comment.</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/cmitchell-0">Chip Mitchell</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s West Side bureau reporter. Follow him on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/ChipMitchell1">@ChipMitchell1</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>, and connect with him through <a href="https://www.facebook.com/chipmitchell1">Facebook</a>, <a href="https://plus.google.com/111079509307132701769" rel="me">Google+</a> and <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/ChipMitchell1">LinkedIn</a>.</em></p></p> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 08:14:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/city-pay-100000-photojournalist-who-alleged-police-brutality-113979 Hundreds Block Retail Entrances in Protest of Laquan McDonald Investigation http://www.wbez.org/news/hundreds-block-retail-entrances-protest-laquan-mcdonald-investigation-113965 <p><div><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 22px;">▲&nbsp;</span><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: 14px; line-height: 22px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">LISTEN:</strong><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 22px;">&nbsp;</span><em>Hear the scene on the&nbsp;Magnificent Mile from WBEZ&#39;s Linda Lutton, who spoke with&nbsp;protesters&nbsp;and shoppers during Friday&#39;s protests.</em></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>CHICAGO (AP) &mdash;&nbsp;Hundreds of protesters blocked store entrances and shut down traffic in&nbsp;Chicago&#39;s&nbsp;ritziest shopping district on Black Friday to draw attention to the 2014 police killing of a black teenager who was shot 16 times by a white officer.</div><p style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Verdana, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif, Geneva; font-size: 15px; line-height: 15px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">&nbsp;</p><div><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Protesters line Michigan Ave sidewalks, block stores. &quot;Shut it down! Justice for <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Laquan?src=hash">#Laquan</a>&quot; <a href="https://t.co/0iiAkdogxs">pic.twitter.com/0iiAkdogxs</a></p>&mdash; WBEZeducation (@WBEZeducation) <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZeducation/status/670308391999418368">November 27, 2015</a></blockquote><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>Demonstrators stood shoulder to shoulder in a cold drizzling rain to turn the traditional start of the holiday shopping season on Michigan Avenue&#39;s Magnificent Mile into a high-profile platform from which to deliver their message: The killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald &mdash; captured on a&nbsp;squad car&nbsp;video made public earlier this week &mdash; was another example of what they say is the systemic disregard police show for the lives and rights of black people.</p><p>They chanted &quot;16 shots! 16 shots!&quot; and stopped traffic for blocks to express their anger over&nbsp;the Oct.&nbsp;20, 2014, shooting and the subsequent investigation, which they say was mishandled.</p><p style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Verdana, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif, Geneva; font-size: 15px; line-height: 15px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/IMG_1112.JPG" style="text-align: center; height: 437px; width: 620px;" title="(WBEZ/Linda Lutton)" /></p><iframe frameborder="no" height="20" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/235045297&amp;color=ff5500&amp;inverse=false&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_user=true" width="100%"></iframe><p>While shoppers continued to make their way along sidewalks and the empty street, some major retailers were forced to close, at least temporarily. Among them was the typically swamped Apple store, where dozens of employees in red shirts stood in an otherwise empty two-story space and watched through store windows as protesters linked arms to stop anyone from entering.</p><p>It was the largest demonstration in&nbsp;Chicago&#39;s&nbsp;streets since police on Tuesday released the video under a court order to make it public.</p><p>The footage shows McDonald jogging down a street and then veering away from Officer Jason Van Dyke and another officer who emerge from a police SUV drawing their guns. Within seconds, Van Dyke begins firing. McDonald, who authorities allege was carrying a three-inch knife and was suspected of breaking into cars, spins around and falls to the pavement as Van Dyke keeps shooting.</p><p>Prosecutors charged Van Dyke with first-degree murder on Tuesday, hours before the video&#39;s release.</p><p>Frank Chapman, 73, of&nbsp;Chicago, said the video confirms what activists have said for years about&nbsp;Chicago&nbsp;police brutality.</p><p>&quot;That needs to end,&quot; Chapman said. &quot;Too many have already died.&quot;</p><p>Chicago&nbsp;police blocked off roads to accommodate the march down Michigan Avenue, and officers in some areas formed a barrier of sorts between protesters and stores and helped shoppers get through the doors. But protesters succeeded in blocking main entrances on both sides of the street for more than three blocks.</p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/IMG_0537.JPG" style="height: 413px; width: 310px; float: left; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" title="Demonstrators block the entrance of AT&amp;T on Michigan Avenue in Chicago. (WBEZ/Linda Lutton)" /><p>When one person tried to get through the front door of Saks Fifth Avenue, protesters screamed at him, shouting, &quot;Shut it down! Shut it down.&quot; Entrances were also blocked at the Disney Store, the Apple Store, Nike, Tiffany &amp; Co., and Neiman Marcus, among others.</p><p>Several protesters were seen lying face-down on the ground in handcuffs, but a police spokeswoman said she hadn&#39;t been informed of any arrests.</p><p>Shoppers seemed to take the disturbance in stride, with some even snapping photos of the crowd.</p><p>&quot;Honestly it&#39;s the cold that&#39;s likely to scare us away first,&quot; said Christopher Smithe, who was visiting from London with his girlfriend.</p><p>With the rain and the protests, there seemed to be less foot traffic than on a normal Black Friday, said John Curran, vice president of the Magnificent Mile Association, which represents 780 businesses on North Michigan Avenue.</p><p>&quot;The storefronts that were blocked by the demonstrators certainly had an impact on some of the businesses,&quot; he said.</p><p>Throughout the week, protesters have expressed anger over the video of the shooting. They&#39;ve also harshly&nbsp;criticised&nbsp;the department for its months-long effort to prevent the video from being released and the state&#39;s attorney&#39;s office for taking more than a year to file charges against Van Dyke, despite having footage of the incident.</p><p>All previous marches have been largely peaceful. There have been isolated clashes between police and protesters, with about 10 arrests and only a few minor reports of property damage.</p><p>Van Dyke is being held without bond. His attorney said Van Dyke feared for his life when he fired at McDonald and that the case should be tried in an actual courtroom, not the court of public opinion.</p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 27 Nov 2015 10:36:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/hundreds-block-retail-entrances-protest-laquan-mcdonald-investigation-113965